The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has identified areas for further review regarding the proposed merger of Aon and Willis Towers Watson.
The industry watchdog commenced a public consultation into the deal on 9 April 2021 after being made aware by Aon of possible infringements to the Competition Act.
Aon notified the CCCS regarding overlapping retirement benefits and human capital consulting services that could result in a “substantial lessening of competition” in Singapore.
According to third party feedback, the merger will create the largest provider of executive compensation and related consulting services in the region, resulting in “limited alternative providers” who are able to effectively compete.
Concerts of high barriers to entry and expansion were also raised to the watchdog, with the building up of compensation data acting as a barrier to entry for other firms.
The CCCS said: “In view of the above feedback received, CCCS needs to further review the competition effects of the proposed transaction in greater detail.
“At this stage, the parties may offer commitments to address the potential competition concerns that may arise as a result of the proposed transaction, or the proposed Transaction will proceed to a detailed further review upon CCCS’s receipt of the relevant documents from Aon.”
The merger was first confirmed in March 2020, and represents an all-stock transaction with an implied combined equity value of roughly £61m.